Poked: Protocol Hygienists Must Follow After Dental Sharps Injury

Dental hygienists are among the 5.6 million workers in health care and related occupations who are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious material (OPIM) such as saliva in dental procedures.2 Dental professionals handle dental scalers, burs, anesthetic needles, orthodontic wire, and other hazardous materials daily. Dental facilities should have a clear protocol for sharps injuries...

Dental Appliances: Tips to Ensuring Patient Safety while Ensuring Thorough Cleaning

The risk associated with cross-contamination while cleaning dental appliances is a topic that has garnered more attention in recent years. During a dental hygiene appointment, we are tasked with thoroughly cleaning our patients’ night guards, orthodontic appliances, and whitening trays at intermittent times throughout the day. While the hygiene appointment is a balancing act, and we are often watching the...

OSHA’s Surprise Visits: Tips for Dental Offices to be Prepared

Prior to the pandemic, during a normal hectic workday at my office, the local component of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) dropped in for a surprise visit. I think it is safe to say that this is one of the most dreaded moments by dental professionals in a dental office. While many offices go their entire business...

Suction Backflow: How Dental Hygienists Can Prevent Cross-contamination

Many of us drink through a straw. When you take a long, delicious slurp, have you ever noticed that, once you release your lips from the straw, that the remaining liquid trapped inside the cylinder tubing backflows into the cup in which it rests? I have witnessed the process multiple times and even watched my children play insipidly with...

The Potential Use of Environmentally Friendly PPE in Dental Hygiene

Alternative solutions for environmentally friendly personal protective equipment (PPE) are needed in order to reduce the amount of medical waste created by dental offices. This can start with dental hygienists who have always had a public health advocacy role since the profession's inception. Environmental health and safety are included within that realm of public health for dental hygienists. The American...

Hydrogen Peroxide Pre-rinse during COVID: Have We Been Misled?

Hygiene schools teach the importance of preprocedural rinses (PPMR), viewing it as a method for lowering the bacterial load and preventing the spread of disease/microorganisms. When the pandemic descended upon us, the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) once again pushed the narrative that preprocedural rinses, specifically hydrogen peroxide, were necessary and beneficial to...

Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation in Dental and Medical Settings as a Method of Sterilization

Contaminated surfaces, instruments, and airborne particles present in dental and medical settings are a potential health hazard to medical professionals and patients. Although these microbial populations can be minimized through preventive efforts such as pre-procedural rinses, plastics barriers and proper infection control, these microorganisms are still present in the operatory. Sterilization has been thoroughly studied for use in many...

Ventilation: Safely Control Flow of Bioaerosols in Dental Operatories

Editor's Note: Information about COVID-19 is changing on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. We have made every attempt to ensure this article is up-to-date at the time of original article publication (June 28, 2020), but with the rapid changes occurring, some information may have changed since publication. Please visit coronavirus.gov for the latest news and information on COVID-19. The worldwide spread...

Mask Selection: What the Dental Professional Should Know Post-COVID-19

Editor's Note: Information about COVID-19 is changing on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. We have made every attempt to ensure this article is up-to-date at the time of original article publication (June 20, 2020), but with the rapid changes occurring, some information may have changed since publication. Please visit coronavirus.gov for the latest news and information on COVID-19. Masks have long...

CDC Releases New Guidance for Dental Care During COVID-19

Editor's Note: Information about COVID-19 is changing on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. We have made every attempt to ensure this article is up-to-date at the time of publication (May 26, 2020), but with the rapid changes occurring, some information may have changed since publication. Please visit https://www.coronavirus.gov/ for the latest news and information on COVID-19. Article updated August 4, 2020...

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